Mike Hooten, M.D. (Anesthesiology, Mayo Clinic): Any prescription medication should never be shared, especially opioids.

Vivien Williams: Mayo Clinic pain management expert Dr. Mike Hooten gives two big reasons why you should not share opioid pain medication.

Mike Hooten, M.D.: They are dangerous. They could have adverse effects that the individuals may not even recognize.

Vivien Williams: Plus, sharing opioids is against the law.

Vivien Williams: A study shows 1 out of 5 people who were prescribed opioids shared them, mostly to help friends or family with pain. And almost half of the people in the study did not know what to do with leftover pills.

Mike Hooten, M.D.: My recommendation to patients is if there's any medication left over at all, it needs to be disposed of. It needs to be out of the house. This is not a medication you want sitting in the cabinet for some use in the future.

Vivien Williams: Dr. Hooten says rules about medication disposal vary state by state. Check out fda.gov to find out how to get rid of medication safely. For the Mayo Clinic News Network, I'm Vivien Williams.

March 22, 2018